Penn State vs. Iowa score, takeaways: Nittany Lions dominate as Hawkeyes suffer first shutout since 2000
Iowa didn't even reach 100 yards of total offense in the loss
No. 7 Penn State beat No. 24 Iowa at its own game during a Week 4 matchup, with the Nittany Lions using a stiff defensive effort to shut out the Hawkeyes 31-0 for the annual "White Out" game. Though Iowa isn't known for its offensive prowess, the loss nevertheless marks the first shutout for the program since 2000. Complicating matters is offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. Iowa must average 25 points per game this fall for Ferentz to keep his job -- track the Hawkeyes' progress-- and tonight's shutout puts the team well behind the pace after four weeks.
The two teams were notched in a defensive struggle for the better part of the first half before the Penn State scoring barrage began. Drew Allar hit Khalil Dinkins for a 9-yard strike in the second quarter as the Nittany Lions took a 7-3 lead into halftime. That set up a monster second half for the former five-star prospect. Allar erupted with two touchdown passes to Tyler Warren and KeAndre Lambert-Smith to make it a 31-0 before he was pulled in favor of Beau Pribula.
The Nittany Lions defense was ferocious from the moment toe met leather. Iowa's six-play, 24-yard drive to open the game was its longest of the day without ending in a turnover. Penn State held the Hawkeyes to three or fewer plays on the next eight drives and allowed only 79 yards on the night.
Here are the top takeaways from the blowout in Happy Valley
Allar is rock solid at QB
The 6-foot-5, 242-pound sophomore is one of the budding superstars in the sport, and his four-touchdown performance solidifies that. Allar's 166 yards passing didn't jump off the page, but his poise and control did. Allar has not thrown an interception during his college career: He was flawless in his 60 passes as Sean Clifford's backup last season and has 125 attempts without a pick this season.
Check out this dart to Dinkins in the second quarter:
Is Allar a difference-maker? Absolutely. He doesn't put up video game stats because he doesn't have to, but Allar is a star and should be in the Heisman Trophy conversation until he proves otherwise.
Time of possession domination
The rise of hurry-up offenses has relegated time of possession to more of a secondary statistic that doesn't always indicate offensive success. That wasn't the case here.
Penn State won the time of possession battle 45:27 to 14:33 and limited the Hawkeyes offense to just 33 plays in what was one of the most futile offensive efforts in recent Iowa history — which isn't exactly littered with explosive offensive performances.
Ferentz has had the spotlight all over him this season because of his contract situation. If the Hawkeyes don't reach 25 ppg as a team, Ferentz won't be brought back in 2024. After a game like this, though, Hawkeye fans probably want to send him on his way now.
Penn State is a CFP contender
All of the talk in the Big Ten centers around Michigan and Ohio State. After all, those are the two teams that are consistently in the College Football Playoff discussion in mid-to-late November. It's time to add Penn State into that mix. The offensive success is a big part of the equation, but the defense has been rock solid so far. The Nittany Lions entered the weekend tied for third in the nation in turnover margin at +7 and increased that number to +11 against the woeful Hawkeyes.
Penn State is built like the Michigan teams of the last few years and the Georgia teams that utterly dominated and outmanned opponents. That's not to say that the Nittany Lions are better or more talented than those squads. They have the same kind of identity, though, and they know that it works.
Abject disaster for Iowa
12:19 Q4: No. 7 Penn State 31, No. 24 Iowa
This might come as a shock, but Penn State racked up another long drive that resulted in points. The Nittany Lions took over at the Buckeyes 19-yard line and embarked on an 8-play, 19-yard drive eclipsing 3:37. The march resulted in quarterback Drew Allar finding KeAndrew Lambert-Smith for a beautiful 3 yard touchdown strike in the left corner of the end zone. That came one play after the Buckeyes were hit with a leaping penalty on a field goal attempt that, without the penalty would have resulted in a block.
We have a blowout in the White Out. No. 7 Penn State leads No. 24 Iowa 24-0 in front of a raucous crowd in Happy Valley. Quarterback Drew Allar hooked up with tight end Tyler Warren twice in the third quarter -- including a seven-yarder late in the frame -- to make this one a blowout. Allar found Warren earlier in the half on a two-yard score in which Allen snuck out the back side and Allar found him all alone in the left side of the end zone.
The story of this game is Penn State's defense. The Nittany Lions have forced Iowa to go three-and-out six times -- including five in a row prior to the last drive of the third quarter. Incredibly, the last drive of the frame was even worse than the previous five. Quarterback Cade McNamara was sacked by Demeioun Robinson and subsequently fumbled on the first play of the possession. Adisa Isaac recovered at the Iowa 19-yard line.
Iowa only has 54 yards and Penn State is beating the Hawkeyes in the time of possession battle 34:39 to 10:21.
Tyler Warren again
1:01 Q3: No. 7 Penn State 24, No. 24 Iowa 0
Penn State tight end Tyler Warren has two catches on the evening -- and both of them have resulted in touchdowns. Quarterback Drew Allar found him over the middle for 7-yard score late in the third quarter to blow this one wide open. Just how dominant has Penn State been? It has five drives of 10 or more plays and is winning the time of possession battle 33:43 to 10:16. The Hawkeyes only have 60 yards of total offenses and have gone three-and-out on six straight drives.
Iowa's drive chart is ugly
The Hawkeyes aren't exactly known for explosive offenses. However, they are taking it to a new level tonight.
Penn State putting it out of reach
8:20 Q3: No. 7 Penn State 17, No. 24 Iowa 0
Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar rolled right hit tight end Tyler Warren for a two-yard touchdown to blow this one open. Warren snuck out of the pile and found himself wide open on the left side of the end zone for first catch of the night. That capped off a 15-play, 75-yard drive that gobbled up the first 6:40 of the third quarter. The Nittany Lions have four drives that have been 10 or more plays, and lead the time of possession battle 27:53 to 8:47.
First half recap
The annual "White Out" game in Happy Valley is an old-school slugfest through two quarters. No. 7 Penn State leads the No. 24 Iowa 10-0 in a battle of unbeaten Big Ten teams. Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar has been smart, efficient and accurate in a rainy Beaver Stadium. The first-year starter is 15 of 23 passing for 100 yards passing and a nine-yard touchdown strike to Khalil Dinkins midway through the second frame.
Iowa has struggled mightily against the stout Penn State defense. The Hawkeyes have only gained 63 yards on the evening, and have only run 21 offensive plays. The offense, which is without its top two running backs, has only 21 rushing yards. Quarterback Cade McNamara is only 5 of 13 for 42 yards in what has become a defensive battle that harkens back to the old days of Big Ten football.
The Nittany Lions will get the ball coming how of halftime in what will be the most important drive of the game. If they find the end zone, it could put this game out of reach based on how well they've been playing defense against the Hawkeyes.
Penn State was stopped on a third-and-12 on the Iowa 35-yard line and forced to punt. Riley Thompson, the Nittany Lions' quarterback, was absolutely leveled by an Iowa defender who was blocked into Thompson according to officials on the field. However, it looked on replay like he was barely touched. Iowa's Cooper DeJean returned it to 29-yard line.
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